You're getting things done, making decisions, moving initiatives forward, people even like working with you—all sorts of good stuff is happening. But are you truly connecting with people? Your answer may be an automatic "Why yes! Of course!" You're a great listener, you care, you make it a point to be the best leader you can be, you're doing it all. But, there's even more you can do.
Put your attention on these five things to give yourself and other. It will give you an extra edge in depth, connection, and inspiration. It doesn't matter if it's your employee, partner, boss, client, friend, spouse, etc.—everyone can play.
See them and honor them for who they truly are. One of our core wants and needs as human beings is to be seen. Acknowledge people for who they are, where they shine, how they show up—quirks and all—and you'll find a new depth of engagement and appreciation. How to do this? Pay attention. Listen. Look. Learn. Ask questions. Get curious. Use your intuition. Acknowledge them for who they are and how they show up. (Especially when they think you're not looking.)
Let them know their presence (and life) matters. Another core want and need? To know we're making an impact, that we're up to something that means something, that we're leaving a legacy, doing good - simply put, that our presence and life matters. Make sure your people are engaged in work and conversations that are meaningful to them, let them know the impact they have on you, let them know they matter. A little goes a long way. A simple acknowledgment about their contributions—big or small—to that meeting, that dinner party, that conversation, that project, to your life, has the opportunity to speak to who that person is and create fuel and joy for even more.
Connect—truly connect—with them. We want and need to be part of a tribe. As humans we are built to connect, to bond, to be a part of a group of people who care about us, need us, see us, and want to be with us. It's part of our human make up. Spend time with your people. Be present. Give them your full attention - if even for that one minute interaction. If you blend in one or more of the other things on this list, you'll get an even higher ROI on your connection investment.
Believe in them, and tell them so. Remember the last time you felt the energy of being believed in? Authentically believed in? Powerful right? Remember how it feels when you truly believe in someone else? Powerful too. We can be that for each other. If you see something in someone, say it. If you believe they can do something, speak to it. We often see more for others than they can see for themselves (and vice versa). It's an opportunity (and even a leadership responsibility) to speak to it. Gift them with the power of belief.
Grow them. Give them something to step into. What's the next thing you see possible for them? What do you know they want to step into but may be afraid? Where's their leadership or craft or personal edge? Speak to it and give them space to step into to grow and master that edge.
"I see you, I need you, I appreciate you, I believe in you, step up." Pretty much covers it all. Try this phrase out (in your own authentic language) on 10 people today and notice the impact. Happy connecting!
Originally posted on Inc.com July 20, 2015